Friday, March 30, 2012

Sermon - Lent 3 2012

I found this to be a fairly challenging sermon to put together. One of those times when I felt strong about it in the preparation stage but then felt that it didn't quite work in the execution like I had hoped. That's one of the risks with extemporaneous preaching, you can feel very confident and good about your plan and what you want to say, but extemporaneous preaching isn't about merely "delivering" pearls of wisdom that are the freeze-dried product of a previously dead-and-gone process. No matter what process has gone before, there is a new stage of process that happens as the sermon is being unfurled in front of the congregation, and that can be very difficult to predict, even for someone with five+ years experience doing it! But, of course, with risk comes the possibilities of great reward, and many of my best sermons at Church of The Messiah were simply unimaginable to me before I started giving them.

Anyway, one of the main themes I wanted to deal with in this sermon was the general distaste people have for "organized" religion. We live in an age where it is fashionable to be cynical of institutions. I probe that a bit in this sermon. Cheers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sermon - Lent 5 2012

I was very pleased with how this sermon turned out. I was dealing with material from a variety of sources, including the Zombie Apocalypse show "The Walking Dead" to make sense out of the hope that Jesus offers us. The implications of the bodily resurrection mean that salvation goes beyond those parts of ourselves that we like towards all the parts of the world that we inhabit and infect with our human capacity to relate.

Resurrection in an anxious world was also a poignant theme because of the death of our Interim Organist (and a personal friend) Bruce Kirkpatrick Hill last week. His funeral on Saturday at St. Mary Magdalene's was magnificent. More than 570 people packed the church, and the music was simply stunning. I preached through my grief in a passionate and delicate sermon on Tuesday, but by the time Sunday came around I had contextualized some of the lessons from Bruce's life and death into the larger story that he had dedicated his life to proclaiming through music.